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Viseu – What to see pt.2

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Go Check pt.1 of what to see in Viseu!

 

9. Museu Almeida Moreira

You can pop into this museum to get to know one of Viseu’s most intriguing 20th-century characters.

Almeida Moreira was the founder and first director of the Grão Vasco Museum and started collecting art and artifacts as a teenager.

It’s no surprise his house is crammed with faience, porcelain, sculptures, furniture and 19th, and 20th-century Portuguese painting.

If you’re interested in Portuguese culture you might also be inspired to know that Almeida Moreira entertained leading lights like Raul Lino, Luciano Freire and Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro in these rooms.

10. Palácio do Gelo

If you’re stuck for somewhere to go on a rainy day this leisure and shopping center is just south of the center of the city.

It goes back to 1996 but got an expensive overhaul ten years ago.

There are more than 160 shops in a clean, airy building.

But if you’re here with the family the main appeal will be the leisure facilities; there is a bowling alley and amusement arcade, but the marquee attractions is the 600 square-meter skating rink (the center is called Ice Palace after all!). Parents can treat themselves to a spa trip, blowing off steam in the Turkish baths, jacuzzi suite or selecting from a menu of treatments.

11. Casa do Miradouro

This palace on Largo António José Pereira is the only piece of Renaissance civil architecture surviving in Viseu.

And it was built by the Francesco de Cremona, the same man responsible for the awesome colonnade at the Passeio dos Cónegos next to the cathedral.

Go through the grand portal decorated with a coat of arms and pilasters and you’ll be rewarded with one of the city’s most interesting archaeological collections.

This was curated by the 20th-century historian Dr. José Coelho who assembled Iron Age votive stones and Roman funerary monuments from the region’s ancient “Castro” settlements.

12. Museu do Quartzo

North of the city close to a quartz quarry on Monte Santa Luzia is the world’s only quartz museum.

It was conceived by the preeminent Portuguese geologist Galopim de Carvalho and opened in 2012, on the site of a former tram factory.

The beauty of the location needs mentioning, and there’s a sweeping view of Viseu in front of you.

And mineral hunters or anyone with a passing interest in natural science can marvel at the geodes and peculiar crystal formations on show while finding out about the many commercial applications for quartz.

13. Cava de Viriato

The powerful earthworks to the north of the city have been puzzling historians for centuries.

This octagonal mass, 38 hectares in size, was intended for a colossal fortress, but there’s a lot of disagreement about who constructed it.

Some claim it was the Romans and others say it was the Moors or the Christians during the Reconquista in the 12th century.

The site has been a Portuguese national monument since 1910 and in 2001 the slopes were buttressed with walls to prevent erosion.

On the south side, there’s a walkway to help you envisage the ambition of this ancient project.

 


14. Casa da Ribeira

There’s a hint of how life used to be in Viseu, to be found in the northern suburbs.

The Casa da Ribeira is a big compound on the River Pavia which provided room for an iron forge, warehouses, a tavern, and even student housing.

The house has been kept as an ethnological museum and a souvenir for old handicrafts like weaving, lacemaking, basketry, and pottery.

The various instruments for each trade are presented, and on special days demonstrations are given by the few people that retain these traditional skills.

15. Food and Drink

That former palace next to the Parque do Fontelo can be your stepping stone for trips into the Dão DOC wine region, which is one of the oldest in Portugal.

You can come to this beautiful old building to sample the region’s wines and see which meet your fancy.

Reds from these parts are normally very robust and are traditionally high in tannins, so they pair well with the rich and satisfying cuisine in this upland area.

Roasted veal with rice, roast lamb and a kind of stew with a pork preparation (Rojões)and blood pudding are all old-school classics here.

Typical sweets are castanhas de ovos, made with sugar, egg yolks, and flour, and first made in the city’s convents.

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